Ballmer Unveils 'XDocs' Office Application

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Wednesday unveiled a new Office application, code-named "XDocs," designed to ease the collection of data by using XML-based forms within documents. XDocs will resemble a traditional word processor, but allow customers to create dynamic forms to capture information using a pre-defined XML schema, which can then be easily organized and shared.

"What this means is that the customer defines the overall structure of the information that will be gathered from the XDocs template, and what type of content each data element will contain," said Jean Paoli, Microsoft's XML architect behind XDocs. "Being able to define your own schema is a critical business advantage, because no one knows what kind of information your company needs to gather better than you do."

XDocs natively integrates with XML Web services and supports multiple databases -- features Microsoft hopes will promote adoption within current business processes.

"The vision for XDocs is to deliver on the needs of our customers by connecting XML Web services to information workers at their desktops," Ballmer said. "XDocs provides new ways to gather and reuse company data, enabling better information flow, more informed decisions and greater integration of people with business processes throughout an organization."

XDocs will ship alongside Office 11 in mid-2003, but Microsoft has not yet announced any pricing or packaging details. Microsoft is readying the first beta release of Office 11, and is expected to ship the test code to partners and beta testers by the end of November.

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